"Good thing we have the purity of the Republicans"


The Danville News

Robert John Andrews

November 7, 2019

“A Friendly Feud – Full Text”

Word Count:  1,833


Someone I love thinks Trump is an idiot (he actually calls him an asshole) but likely will vote for him again anyway.    To be fair, this person has contempt for most people.   He thinks me naïve and subtly insuled me by scoffing at those who “spout dreams and higher goals and speak emotionally because that doesn’t result in anything being done to help humans on earth.”   I said: may God forgive those who think dreams and emotions are weaknesses.   


We went at it recently by email.  This script is the fuller version in contrast to the one published in the Danville News.


Him:  I contend that policies being put in place are precisely in line with my values, and the insanity of the policies proposed by the democratic contenders are exactly the opposite of what I want for my country.


Me:  You wrongly speak of the Democrat contenders as monolithic.


Him:  EVERY democratic contender is pushing for the opposite---EVERY one is seeking power--- NOT ONE Is motivated by compassion, fairness, ---they are fools and liars.


Me:  Everyone?  Really?  Good thing we have the purity of the Republicans.


Him:  Abortion --- 50 MILLION dead babies since 1973 --- 10% in late term abortions still makes this POLICY the equivalent of the Jewish genocide in WWII


Me:  You like emotional diatribes, not fact.  I remember our father objecting to the Republican plank limiting choice, saying:  “Who are they to tell my daughters what to do?”  Who gets abortions?  What is the medium age?  Why?  You might be surprised by the facts.   Late term?  Do you wish to talk to neonatologists who can’t stand the government interfering in dreadful and painful medical decisions?


Him:  Baby parts for sale---Planned parenthood is the equivalent of Josef Mengele


Me:  Tabloid nonsense.  Planned Parenthood, in my direct experience, does more to prevent abortions than any other organization.


Him:  VA hospitals ---finally giving vets a choice


Me:  Yeah, fine if they can travel to the choice or get in line with limited resources.   I’ve had to drive vets an hour and half away.    Our hospital handles some but should vets get in line before other patients? 


Him:  Corruption--- hard to beat the Clintons---although joe is working at it


Me:  Well, Trump is doing his best to beat them.  As PJ O’Rourke wrote:  Hillary is a liar of the old sort, Trump is in a new category.  Joe?  Give me a break --- read Nov 30 Michelle Goldberg NYT column.  Corruption – how’s that cabinet doing these days.  How about Rove, Cheney, Black water?   Money talks always – I wouldn’t mind term limits.  Romney seems honest. 


Him:  Taxes---my children benefitted immeasurably from the tax cuts---Corporations are investing billions in growth….Frankly why should we finance the crap coming from our government--- government inefficiency is legend ---it is also true San Francisco and LA have big budget surpluses --- and thousands suffer in their streets --- Good Job


Me:  Ours didn’t.  We paid more.  So did they.  Corporations investing in growth?  Okay, profit is good, when equitable.  Something about the wealth gap the diminishing middle class comes to mind.   Speaking of corruption, are corporations people?  Slowing economy, highest debt, small businesses hurt, damaging trade wars, manufacturing slowdown.


Him:  Jobs---millions more at work now --- work is a good thing.


Me:  Jobs, yes, the path has been improving since Obama, because of Obama, but let’s factor in those working 2-3 jobs, and those dropping out of the work force and what is their wage, salary, benefits?  Whoops, I wonder where the economy is going now? 


Him:  Climate change--- the US has reduced its carbon emissions more than any country on earth and more in-line with the ridiculous climate accords than ANY and ALL countries in this world and we didn’t ship your and my money to the pockets of greedy, crooked, bullshit governments with no intention of addressing the needs of climate change---Climate change is infinitely more complicated than AOC thinks ---there are things that can be done and will be done if government stays the F--- out of it


Me:  And good for us.  There’s money in Climate change.  So, we got AOC on one side, we got Trump etc on the other side.  Where are the scientists?  Where are the voices of reason?  Or should I ask, why are they being silenced and censured?  Give me centrists any day.  I do not look to Government to solve but to react and support to those beginning to solve. 


Him:  War---get the f… out of these insane murdering wars ---


Me:  Yep, and I got attacked for advising us to listen to the European Union and stop thinking of war and instead treating it as a police matter. Mission accomplished.  Daddy Bush did it right.  But then, somebody really wanted the oil wells and they still do.  Read Kevin Phillips and the oil maps drooled over by Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld.


Him:  Health care---we have the best in the world.   Health insurance --- too expensive and too many f’ing bureaucrats dictating how it should be done ---more and more rules guarantee insane costs---Canada’s system is crap --- every change we makes finds the people with the most power and gives them more--- seems to be a pattern


Me:  For some.  Obama care is working and reducing costs.  Fortunately, given our hospitals they have been absorbing the costs for years – we don’t need socialized medicine , we have the hospitals paying for in and increasing costs to pay for it.  My primary gets so frustrated with 400 diabetics coming in to be made well without changing diet.  Hospitals give our free flu shots (which aren’t free) so prevent the expense of getting sick.  80% of health for last years and first years.  We overmedicate and over treat. 

Sure, I trust the CEO’s to make health care affordable.  Define crap.  Who are the people with power?  Who are the bureaucrats?  I know the AMA has some good recommendations.  Oh yes, which bills has McConnell stalled and prevented debate to address this? 


Him:  Immigration ---desperately in need of commonsense changes ---we need to show massive compassion to those in need --- we need to show zero compassion to the cartels who traffic humans --- we need to help these people flourish in their homes and in their cultures ---the debate is not about people ---the left was unfettered immigration ---not to help people but to get more control of voters ---the right hates sharing --- I hate the hypocrisy and the way these people are used by everyone


Me:  Agreed.  Marshall plan for Central America – oh yes, and it might help we would stop destabilizing their governments, deporting our gangs to terrorize their streets and towns, and our corporations exploiting them.  No the left (whoever they are) do not want unfettered access.  That’s crap.  Oh yes, what bills has McConnell stalled and prevented debate to address this?  The fault, dear Brutus… 


Him:  Iran---pyscho mullahs with a bomb--- great idea Barrack --- got another $billion.


Me:  So let’s rip up our pathway to continued negotiation that was working and force them into the corner.  Gee, why bother with diplomacy because it takes skill and effort?  That was their impounded money. 


Him:  Court system ---finally shifting back to bring constitutional scholars back to the bench--- finally restraining the district courts to their district,


Me:  Ah yes, like Clarence Thomas.  What scholars?  All fine sophisticated jurists appointed by Trump.  Not a hack in the bunch.  Not an activist judge in the lot – no agendas at all but the purity of the constitution.   Seems to me that Garland was a scholar…


Him:  The EU---been ripping us off for years ---needs its ass kicked.


Me:  75 years of peace, success, and economic well-being.  Why would trash that?


Him:  Homelessness--- just go to San Francisco and yes it is the fault of the democratic government operating there--- they care nothing for the people trapped in the endless cycle of drugs, sickness and mental challenges


Me:  Thank you Reagan and the ACLU – but then you did say once that Reagan was the most anti-family president in our history.   Closing down hospitals and expecting community housing to pick up the need – just take your meds and all will be well.  That and bad wars with Vets mentally ill.  Risings costs, crappy jobs, families and single mom cant’ afford living there, being driven out, not enough decent housing projects, Silicon Valley and the rich boys playing ping pong at the expense of workers trying to protect their families.


Him:  Drugs---tolerated, promoted and facilitated by a culture of “me”--- this is a horror show—rampant drug use is NOT cool, it is stupid, Marijuana is not harmless ---it never was and everyone knows it ---but there is money to be made----so off we go


Me:  Agreed.  Spent a few hours last Thursday in a mental ward visiting a young man drug addicted and given a last chance.  Multiple, multiple issues and sorrows.  Systemic problems require systemic solutions.  Marijuana, as Dad said, why have two monkeys on your back.  But it’s good for the bottom line.  Money never corrupts.


Him:  Jail terms---Trump corrected an abysmal system


Me:  A plan developed over years.  Hardly corrected so far.  And please, avoid the profiteers.


Him:  China---tariffs seem to be working but this is a slave state and the battle will be long and hard XI has billions of people he can sacrifice to the fight and will


Me:  Working for whom?  Our local company complained about their intellectual property being ripped off (my buddy) but they kept going back for the bigger profit margin.   Author Tuchman quoted Chiang Kai-shek saying during World War II:  we have more people than Japan has bullets. 


Him:  So --- the sky is not falling because Trump won--- it didn’t fall when Truman won--- the policies proposed by the contenders are both ineffective  and a charade --- they are all about power---


Me:  No the sky is not falling, but the ground is heaving and fissuring and the stability of our nation is tilting.  DOJ?  Come on, now… And Trump isn’t about power at all.  No, no.  Abuse of office, pathological lies, betraying his supporters, greed, conspiracy theories, contempt for rule of law, collusion, autocratic authority, debasing the military, rotting the Republican party, nepotism, abusing allies, refusing transparency, corrupting the DOJ, deregulations endangering the environment and our health, hiring out our sons and daughters to die for oil, sacrificing babies for oil.  Let’s not mention how Trump makes Putin stronger.


Him:  I don’t choose Trump --- I chose policies that work to make lives better.


Me:  No, when you vote, you choose a person.  He hardly is an advocate of the policies you have spoken about.  Nor are his policies making our lives better. 




He hasn’t yet replied to my reply.   I also noticed he didn’t talk about gun safety measures?  What else has congress passed that is being shoved aside in the name of ideology and ego?



“The smell of boy”

The Danville News

Robert John Andrews

November 14, 2019

“Young Blood”

Word Count: 750


Sunday was the last game of the season.  It was another loss, dignity recovered second half.  Come spring we have one season left before the boys move onto High School. Then ‘Team Diggers’ might be no more.  I shall miss it.


Will they remember Sunday’s score?  Doubt it.  Will they remember their record?  Doubt it.  Decades from now, scores and standings ebb into horizons, washed away by memories worth remembering, the real trophies.


What they might remember, if they’re lucky, will be one pass, a goal, a move, a mistake, a moment.  What they will remember will be the best times in a boy’s life.  Mud and sunshine days before adulthood.  They’ll go on to other best times, bound for other bests.  They will mature.  They’ll face good times, experience bad times.  But these young blood days will remain incandescent.  They will lose touch with most of their teammates, each going their own ways, perhaps forgetting their names. 


But they will remember busting each other on the field.  Calling to each other by nickname or last name – hey, you, Bowman!  The teasing that’s adolescent affection, though they’d never admit that.  Goofing around days, for boys never run.  It’s unnatural.  These gawky, clumsy boys gallop, dash, romp, leap, tussle, stampede like thundering Buffalo, and sometimes get distracted and dawdle over to check out a sound in the bushes.  Free from parents checking to see if they did their homework.  Free, they make rude noises from both ends and snicker at rude jokes, although hesitant and uncertain as to why it is rude.  The smell of boy. 


Boy smell is far different from the smell of girls as our daughter discovered after her brother and his buddies spent hours in the basement punching each other, trying to catch darts, wrestling, playing video games.  Boy stuff.  Penelope wanted to retrieve something from the basement but after opening the door she refused to step any farther, complaining:  “It smells like boy.” 


If you could distill boy smell and seal it in a jar, there’d be a market for it with every old man stored in a nursing home waving his dollars.  He’d twist open the cap and inhale, maybe even douse it on his hygienic pillow.  Then he could dream of those days when he too galloped, when he tied the baseball in his greased mitt to get the perfect pocket, when he sniffed a stiff sock from inside his sneaker. 


It cannot rightly be called a sin when your wife throws out your yellowing letter-sweater that hasn’t fit for a century, or when she tosses out your old soccer boots with the cleats worn to a nub, because, forgive her, she doesn’t get it.  For her, these relics take up space in the closet.  In reality, they are sacred and protective talismans, even time machines. 


After our last game, I did something I rarely do.  I resisted temptation.  Temptations arrive in many guises, the worst (yet most enticing) is when they appear as a good, a kindness, as advice.  I wanted to gather them into a circle and urge them to look at each other, look and remember each other.  How they’ll always remember these days.   


I resisted the temptation, partly because I’d be doing it for myself, partly because it would cause them to look down at their shoelaces in embarrassment, those who might pause long enough to listen to my wisdom.  Mostly, it would spoil their surprise decades from now, like telling them the ending to the next Avenger movie.  It would spoil their own adventure of discovery.  Best to let it be a surprise late in life.  Then, without being told, they’d realize how special were these days, these teammates.  Only when you lose it do you cherish it. 


Advice is like showing them a photo from a trip to the Grand Canyon when they best see the grandeur for themselves.  Besides, my advice wouldn’t mean that much to them, at least until they get to that age of looking back.  Boys are destined to keep looking forward.  And stampede, gallop, leap towards what they cannot see. 


Someday, eons from now, they’ll shut their eyes and in a forever twinkling they’ll all be there:  Incessant Seth, Gavin of fluorescent socks and yellow cards, hyper-drive Dane, cucumber cool Conner, redoubtable Grant, steady Ivan and his untied shoelaces, spaniel Samuel, 200% Casey, studious Friscia, feisty Willie, scrappy Benton, eager Griffin, fancy-feet Carter, happy-go-lucky Conlin, brawny Bowman, perfectionist Gage of the wry smile. 






"Good thing we have the purity of the Republicans."

Thursday, 7 November 2019

"A Friendly Feud"

"The smell of boy."

Thursday, 14 November 2019

"Young Blood"

"Wait until she is wounded."

Thursday, 24 October 2019

"All About Eve"

"Nest familiarity, it is called."

Thursday, 10 October 2019


"But I don't chant well."

Thursday, 26 September, 2019

"Christianity 2019"

"There be ghosts."

Thursday, 31 October 2019

"Halloween Frights"

"Best is the merry heart."

Thursday, 17 October 2019

"A Merry Heart"

"Well, are we?"

Thursday, 3 October 2019

"Enough Opinions"

"Look to a tree and learn how to be human."

Thursday, 19 September, 2019

"Falling Leaves"

"I'm sorry I asked you to do this."

Thursday, 12 September, 2019

"You Know"

"Yes, I'm a mischievous contrarian"

Thursday, 5 September, 2019

"True Actions"

"Do it for her"

Thursday, 29 August, 2019

"Labor Day Words"

"See you there!"

Thursday, 22 August, 2019

"Guns, Slaves, Rights"

"We don't need grave robbers."

Thursday, 15 August, 2019

"Glory Days"

"Love works."

Thursday, 8 August, 2019


"It isn't fun."

Thursday, 1 August, 2019

"A Brother's Disagreement"

"We all get replaced."

Thursday, 18 July, 2019

"Riotous Times"

"It wobbles."

Thursday, 25 July, 2019

"The Ikea Effect"

"It has to do with doors."

Thursday, 11 July, 2019

"Elephant Man"

"Drive along Route 61."

Thursday, 4 July, 2019

"Free For"

"I am a jock."

Thursday, 27 June, 2019

"Strong Coaches"

"Summer treats indeed."

Thursday, 20 June, 2019

"Summer Solstice"

"I am obnoxious and disliked."

Thursday, 13 June, 2019

"School Days"

"They never made their 10-year reunion"

Thursday, 6 June, 2019

"Reunions and Remembrance"

"Who are our heroes?"

Thursday, 30 May, 2019


"It's funny"

Thursday, 23 May, 2019

"Why Can't We Collaborate?"

"This Ship is yare."

Thursday, 16 May, 2019

"Queen Mary II"

"It's called the divine inversion."

Monday, 15 April, 2019

"The Best House"

"Glenn wasn't optimistic about that request also."

Monday, 8 April, 2019

"A Gem"

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